Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2022 Feb 15. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1740583. Online ahead of print.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a common cause of hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). MRSA pneumonia is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Several virulence factors allow S. aureus to become an effective pathogen. The polysaccharide intracellular adhesin allows for the production of biofilms, some strains can produce capsular polysaccharides that protect against phagocytosis, microbial surface components recognizing adhesive matrix molecules (MSCRAMMs) allow for colonization of epithelial surfaces, and S. aureus secretes several exotoxins that aid in tissue destruction. The α-hemolysin exotoxin secreted by S. aureus is one of the most important virulence factors for the bacteria. The diagnosis of MRSA pneumonia can be challenging; the infection may present as a mild respiratory infection or severe respiratory failure and septic shock. Many individuals are colonized with MRSA and thus a positive nasopharyngeal swab does not confirm infection in the lower respiratory tract. The management of MRSA pneumonia has evolved. Historically, vancomycin has been the primary antibiotic used to treat MRSA pneumonia. Over the past decade, prospective studies have shown that linezolid leads to higher rates of clinical cure. Monoclonal antibodies are being studied as potential therapeutic options. MRSA is an important cause of HAP/VAP; novel diagnostics may facilitate rapid diagnosis of this infection and the available literature should be used to make informed decisions on management.